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Monday, October 21, 2013

A Herbal Harvest

Most of the garden has been put to bed now, other than one last batch of lettuce and spinach which will last until it snows (or maybe beyond, if I cover them). So this weekend I took care of the last harvest: clipping various herbs and bringing them inside to dry.

This is the small new herb patch by the back door. Most of the herbs are grown in a larger section off to the left of the main garden. They don't have to be fenced in because very little bothers them.

I use my herbs for a number of purposes, primarily culinary (cooking) and magical. Luckily, most common herbs can serve both purposes. For instance, rosemary is great in chicken or lamb dishes, but it is also used in protection magic, or for remembrance. (We often throw it in the Samhain bonfire for that reason.)
 Here's this year's harvest: starting at the middle left, you can see parsley, thyme, rosemary, purple sage, common sage, lemon balm, and chocolate mint. There are some chives tucked in there too.
 Magic and Angus are investigating, but I believe they were unimpressed, since there was no catnip.
Here are the herbs hung up to dry in my mudroom, over the shelf holding the garlic, boxes of small potatoes, and a few lovely squash that my friend John grew.

I love rosemary (and garlic, which is used as an herb, although it is actually a member of the onion family). I have a great rub that I use on leg of lamb: combine 12 cloves of garlic (yes, really), some rosemary, thyme, and oregano with a couple of tablespoons of sea salt or Kosher salt and some pepper. Throw it into a food processor with enough olive oil to make a paste and smear it on your roast. It forms an amazingly flavorful crust, and keeps the meat really moist. (Thanks to my friend Bobbie, who gave me this recipe years ago.)

What is your favorite herb, and what do you use it for?


  1. Of all the herbs, I may love basil the most, but use it primarily for pesto. The ones I use most are garlic and rosemary.

    1. Skye, I love fresh basil (rarely use the dried stuff) and put up batches of pesto every year to eat in the middle of winter when I need a taste of summer sunshine.

  2. Mum would love your rub for the roast leg of lamb. They eat a lot of lamb in Australia. I'm also with you on fresh basil. Love to put it on top of my pizza. : )

    1. I am buying a lamb from a local farm (raised by nuns, no less...organic AND blessed!). I expect I'll use this recipe once or twice :-)